Nandi Senator Samson Arap Cherargei, on Tuesday, May 30, issued demands over plans by the Communications Authority to install spyware, Device Management Systems (DMS) on phones.
In his submissions, Cherargei directed the Senate Standing Committee on Information, Communication and Technology to provide details on the installation rationale.
Cherargei implored the committee to establish how the spyware would be installed, expressing worry that the system would likely compromise users' data and infringe on their privacy.
The lawmaker also sought clarification on why the Communication Authority settled on spyware instead of using the equipment identification register (EIR), which is used to store information about mobile devices.
"State why the CA could not engage telecommunication companies to create an equipment identification register known as EIR on mobile phones instead of installing the DMS," Cherargei stated.
Moreover, Cherargei directed the Communications Authority led by Director General Ezra Chiloba to indicate measures instituted to curb the misuse of the spyware.
"Indicate the measures put in place to curb the misuse of DMS owing to its ability to access private data, including call records, messages, locations and mobile financial transactions.," Cherargei demanded.
His concerns over installing the spying system came after the Supreme Court gave the Communications Authority nod to implement the strategy.
The Supreme Court on Friday, April 21, allowed the communication regulator to install the spyware after dismissing applications by the Law Society of Kenya which had expressed reservations arguing that it would lead to snooping of users' private data.
Defending Device Management Systems, the communication regulator insisted it was key to detecting counterfeits. The regulator further argued that the technology could only detect and record the unique identification number of mobile phones and assigned subscriber numbers.
The rollout was stopped in 2018, but the decision was overturned in 2020 by the Court of Appeal, saying the judge gave a narrow interpretation of the term access, to mean intrusion of Privacy to communication.
However, the Court of Appeal directed the regulator to subject the proposal to public participation before full implementation.
After ascending to power, President William Ruto also pledged that securities officers would not be used to tap into private conversations.